According to a report, 94% of the children in the survey stated that they were worried about getting a job in the next two decades. A report authored in 2010 shows that 56% of the doctors trained in Ghana and 24% of the nurses trained in Ghana were now working abroad. It also found that 42% of Ghanaians plan on moving to another country in the next five years.
Poor working conditions, lack of jobs, and the lack of opportunities for career advancement are pushing qualified Ghanaians to seek greener pastures abroad.
What are the youth really thinking of when it comes to choosing careers?
Sophia is a Ghanaian student who recently got the opportunity to travel abroad to further her studies. What is her story?
I did Risk management and insurance and I was hoping to build on with a PhD or work with a reinsurance company but was not successful.
During the time I was doing my first degree through to my Masters, I developed an interest in becoming a lecturer. After my 2nd degree, I was assigned to a lecturer who taught Economics (a course I did for Bachelor) and Finance (never studied hence, I had to self-study). I worked as a Teaching Assistant, hoping to get into academia; that is, continue with a PhD and become a lecturer. I didn’t get the scholarship I was hoping for.
Eventually, I applied to a government institution and was posted outside Accra. After 2 years, I was certain I was not using my potentials. Being there was fun but I didn’t feel challenged; I was wasting my time.
I carried out a little research and discovered that data science is a booming field for now. Since I enjoyed the analysis part of my thesis, I decided to pursue this area for a career.
Being here (abroad), it’s been difficult to get a job in data science because of my lack of experience in that area, however, my experiences in the field of finance in Ghana have helped me get office jobs while schooling for a 2nd Masters.
Yes, the inability to secure a job of interest, led me to shift my career ambition to finance and data science. Now, I intend to merge the two and become a finance and data science analyst.
Doris, a Ghanaian, also recently left the shores of Ghana, tells her story:
During my undergrad, I got involved in varied activities; volunteering jobs in the arts, education, rural communities and gender. I worked on campus, did some banking as well as insurance.
Seriously setting out on my career path however, began in my last year in the university. I attended a program that brought together young women from all walks of life. It was organized by a lady whose area of specialization was in development, career coaching and offering self-help sessions. At the end of this event, I won a career coaching session with her.
Together, we considered my strengths; being bilingual and carrying out volunteering works with NGOs. On my part, I was able to filter and eliminate the areas of work I did not want to be engaged in, having been exposed to the different work environment I described earlier. By the end of the meeting, we concluded that I could use my bilingual and volunteering experiences to get myself rooted in a career in social development.
I confidently eliminated National Service postings which were not in line with my interest in social development and eventually ended up with UNFPA.
In respect to the frustrations in my job search in Ghana, although I wanted to remain in the social development field, and therefore was applying to work in NGOs, I found myself applying to other institutions like banks and insurance because I was tired of being unemployed. Yet, I also knew I was not being true to myself if I accepted jobs in the corporate institutions. I remember being called for interviews and praying that God should not let me go through. Eventually, I had to accept that God could have a reason to place me at those other places I didn’t have an interest in. I am currently working on a PhD, but with the aim to remain working with NGOs, doing research and communication.
The young adults of today are the Gen Z’s (12 – 27 years) and the Millennials (28-43). Their world is different from some of us (the Boomers, born from 1946 to 1964), but I’m not a total stranger in their world and I think we manage to get along… I do empathize with them!
Many parents have unique stories about their own careers and are aware that they cannot compel their adult children when it comes to their career choices. You realize I’ve been gathering the thoughts of young adults exploring or struggling with career decisions as well as some parents in my circle.
From a ‘Millennial’ mother of four.
My dreams of careers for my children may not necessarily be what they want. They may have their particular interests, so based on that I intend to be supportive and help them to achieve their career ambitions.
From a ‘Boomer’ mother:
My ‘first born’ wanted to be an actor-from infancy. I had to align that with 2 things:
- Readily available jobs as an actor after whatever training vis-a-vis his economic independence from home at a young-adult age.
- What other skills and educational capabilities he showed as he grew, that were from the same or similar acting desires but one that could lead him to a ‘more ready’ economic-independent job after his training.
I guided him with these in mind and he’s been an English Teacher in a secondary school for close to 12 years now.
But with the acting still blazing in his veins, he’s joined a local theatre where he’s shown such magnificent acting skills! He acted Othello recently and that was a masterpiece!
The above is a Ghanaian who has resettled in the U.K. She concludes: ‘As a parent, I don’t care what he ‘acts now.’ Why? He teaches to put bacon on the table!’ The ‘debate’ goes on…
Opening the ‘flood gates’ to listen and to read your thoughts on careers confirms the need for a drive in our educational institutions on identifying and choosing careers relevant in Ghana. Some students may feel overwhelmed by an array of options available to them and so find it difficult to determine which career path to opt for. Considering being in an information age, the youth can explore careers and career counseling opportunities as Sophia and Doris did!
Upcoming posts will be zeroing in on careers in the hospitality and tourism industry in Ghana.